BIA Pro Bono Project

The BIA Pro Bono Project matches vulnerable immigrants with pro bono counsel to defend their cases before the Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA. One of the nation's most successful pro bono initiatives, the BIA Pro Bono Project partners with attorneys and law school clinics to provide pro bono legal representation to indigent immigrants. Through a network of committed volunteers, trainers and mentors, the BIA Pro Bono Project facilitates access to justice, a critical component to safeguarding the rights of vulnerable asylum seekers and long-time lawful permanent residents.

Since its inception in 2001, the BIA Pro Bono Project has reviewed over 7,200 appeals cases. The Project's cases regularly result in significant decisions, including favorable, published BIA decisions, as well as Federal and Supreme Court decisions. In a published study, the Department of Justice found that immigrants who had been provided representation through the BIA Pro Bono Project were up to four times more likely to win a favorable decision before the BIA.

Latest News

BIA Pro Bono Project Victory - 10/21/2020

Congratulations to BIA Pro Bono Project volunteer attorney Anthony Moreno from Gibson Dunn for your recent victory on behalf of a Cameroonian asylum seeker! The BIA found that the IJ failed to consider all the evidence of past persecution or do a complete legal analysis in the case. The client will get a new opportunity to show that he qualifies for asylum. Thank you, Attorney Moreno, for your excellent litigation in this case!

Comment on Proposed Changes to the BIA - 9/09/2020

The Department of Justice has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would greatly limit the rights of respondents before the BIA and immigration judges. The rule would limit brief extensions to one single extension of no more than 14 days and it would drastically limit the ability of respondents to present new evidence on appeal or seek remand for the consideration of new evidence. If enacted, immigration judges who disagreed with a BIA remand order would be allowed to certify the case to the EOIR Director, a political appointee. Additionally, the proposed rule would prevent the BIA and immigration judges from administratively closing cases or from reopening cases sua sponte.

We have created a template that you can use to submit a comment opposing these proposed changes. The deadline to submit a comment is September 25, 2020. Please take a few moments to submit a comment and encourage your colleagues to do so as well. Although we have created a template, your comment will be more effective in delaying the implementation of these proposed rules if you use your own words and include your own personal experiences.

BIA Pro Bono Project Summer Victories - 8/19/2020

CLINIC’s BIA Pro Bono Project won tremendous victories this summer at the Board of Immigration Appeals and in the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. We are thankful for all our dedicated volunteers who continue to fight for vulnerable noncitizens. Click here to read more.

Long-Term BIA Pro Bono Project Case Ends With Victory - 7/24/2020

CLINIC’s BIA Pro Bono Appeals Project launched in 2001. In its 19+ years of operation, the Project has reviewed more than 7,200 cases, pairing attorneys and law school clinics with vulnerable asylum seekers and long-time lawful permanent residents. Click here to read this story.

Get Involved

The BIA Pro Bono Project provides a unique opportunity for attorneys and fully accredited representatives to fight for indigent immigrants who are detained in remote ICE jails across the country, without ever leaving the office. Project volunteers will receive the full case file, including transcripts from the immigration court hearings, and then have 3-6 weeks to write an appellate brief to the BIA. Volunteers will receive mentorship from CLINIC staff and have access to sample briefs and other resources.

If you are an attorney or fully accredited representative and would like to volunteer with the BIA Pro Bono Project, please fill out our volunteer form.

For more information, contact CLINIC staff attorney Rachel Naggar at rnaggar@cliniclegal.org.